A powerful King’s School side proved too strong for RGS Worcester on Friday night at Sixways, defeating their city rivals 32-3 and retaining the Modus Cup in the process.
In a pulsating encounter, King’s took an early 6-0 lead courtesy of two penalties from the boot of fly-half Tom Deehan. RGS hit back after 22 minutes with a penalty of their own, the points provided by skipper Gus Thomas.
However, this was to be RGS’s final impact on the scoreboard as King’s ran in four unanswered tries, including two in the space of one minute, to emphatically lay claim to the ninth edition of the annual Modus Cup.
King’s, who had already recorded impressive victories this season against Loughborough Grammar School and Colston’s, entered the annual fixture as slight favourites.
Roared on by a crowd of 3,500, they dominated the game’s early stages. Centres Rory Atkins and Will Hollis punched holes in the RGS midfield to set the tone for the evening, and when King’s stole RGS ball at scrum time twice in quick succession there were a few murmurs of concern among the fans in green and white.
After the six point lead from Deehan’s penalties was curtailed by Thomas, the game took on a more subdued tone. Stout defence and sloppy handling errors at crucial moments ensured the scoreline remained unchanged until one minute before half time.
The 9, 10, 12 axis of Jacob Ham, Sam Deehan and Rory Atkins was working well for King’s, and smart handling between the three of them created space out wide for fullback Max Fellows to stroll over in the corner. The tough conversion opportunity was missed by Deehan, but the blow had been struck and King’s had their tails up.
Despite going down to 14 men shortly afterwards, King’s remained the more threatening of the two sides. The knockout blow came 10 minutes into the second half – James Smalley’s try off the back of a rolling maul was wonderfully converted by Sam Deehan
The players hardly had the chance to catch their breath before King’s wing Dion King found himself racing away from the RGS defence to claim the first of his two tries.
RGS never gave up, and pressed King’s hard in the final few minutes of the encounter. A 13 man drive at the maul was held up inches short of the King’s line, but when the ball was spun out it was knocked on by centre Sam D’Arcy with the try line at his mercy.
Speedster King pounced on the loose ball and fending off two tacklers, sprinted 80 metres to score a memorable fourth try for King’s.
Speaking to Telegraph Sport after the game, King’s coach Jonny Mason was full of praise for his players.
“I think the most pleasing element of tonight was how well we controlled the ball, and the ruthlessness we showed out wide” enthused Mason, a man every bit as jubilant as his players.
“We showed huge determination and pride, from 1 to 15, and to score as many points as we did was extremely satisfying.”
When questioned on his side’s prospects in this year’s Natwest Schools Cup, Mason was cautiously optimistic.
“We’ve had some success in the competition in recent years so we know we’re capable of making an impact. Having said that, there are no easy games in knockout rugby – we’ve got a difficult second round draw against Adams Grammar, and Ellesmere College lie in waiting should we win that fixture.
This young RGS side will undoubtedly be back next year to kerb Mason’s enthusiasm, but for now the Modus Cup remains in blue and white hands.
Full Time: King’s School, Worcester 32-3 RGS Worcester
By Jonathan Wilson